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Thursday's Child is Sunday's Clown

Posted by Somebody's Mother on 9:02 AM
Nico lives
There are actually goldfinches at my feeder this morning, very exciting. No, it’s not the same as walking around Times Square in a crowd of tourists shepherding 12 excited kids to Broadway shows. Still, as I contemplate a mountain of snow and four days off work ahead of me, I’m glad of the break, even mildly excited for a break. I loved the atmosphere yesterday. Everybody was walking around with a slightly wider grin and a bit of spring in their steps because at 12:30, the buses would be leaving and freedom was beckoning.

It’s confession time on the ranch and I’m going to share a rather silly secret with you: years ago, I stopped going to see Broadway shows because they made me feel like such a failure. I wasn’t one of the brightest lights at the High School of Performing Arts and seeing shows simply reminded me that I wasn’t in the shows. Sour grapes are very bad for the soul.

Luckily, this trip was redemptive and a liberation from all that nonsense. I love writing plays, I love participating in school and community theatre and I just love theatre in general. If anything this trip renewed my passion for theatre. How can you not be excited and re-energized by theatre where skill, imagination, and budget seem limitless?

This might be the part of the silly confession where I swoon about the sets, the lighting, the technical wizardry, voices, dance and acting. Trust me - they were ‘way beyond what I remember from the Broadway shows that I saw as a teenager. I was mesmerized for two hours. Now I understand why Vaudeville and Burlesque were so important in the Thirties. During my time in the theatre, I almost forgot who I was. All my problems were gone. Watching Equus, I was drawn into Dysart’s struggle to make his way through the complexity of Alan Strang’s personality and Dysart’s own personality. The horses’ movements were literally chilling. Billy Elliott flattened me to my seat. The music and dance, the lyrics, the sets flying out of the ground were just breathtaking.

When both shows were over, I wanted them to start all over again. I wanted to catch things that I might have missed. (Believe me, if orchestra seats weren’t over $120.00 a pop, I’d be back in a flash to do just that.) This is really what theatre should be about; it’s an opportunity to be in the same space with living people who re-enact a play, almost a religious ritual that gives the audience a transcendent experience.

I’m so glad that I have a break now to rest up from all yesterday’s parties because that’s what the trip was to me. Two plays that reminded me what big theatre is all about, seeing my family (my dad looked great), and walking by the building that used to be the High School of Performing Arts. They seem to be renovating the outside now but they can’t get rid of the ghosts.

Those ghosts haunt me less now. I have a less silly confession, kind of a happy one. Things went better than they should have. I found other stages to play on and though they weren’t on Broadway, they suited me better and they gave me joy. This is when I knock on wood (I just did) and move on to find those other stages that I can take up space on so that I don’t “cry behind the door.” I have to keep reminding myself in the next weeks and months that closed doors usually open windows and when you scrape through those windows, there’s the hope of finding yourself in an even better place.

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